Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Advice to survive Financially while waiting for a disability approval

The majority of applicants for social security disability benefits and SSI disability benefits experience extreme financial duress while waiting to receive a decision on a disability claim.

Why do claimants experience such duress? Because the disability process is very long. Typically, an initial claim, or application, will take 3-4 months on average (though it can easily take longer).

However, that's not where the real wait comes in. Seventy percent of all disability claims filed with the social security administration are denied. Of those claimants who are denied, some choose to file a brand new disability application, meaning that they will likely have to wait several more weeks or months to receive another decision (filing a new application is generally not a wise choice).

For those who choose to appeal a disability denial, this will usually mean filing a request for reconsideration, which will take several months, and then requesting a disability hearing, since most reconsiderations are also denied. The hearing request, of course, will take many months, and sometimes as long as one to two years.

Given the time considerations of applying for SSD or SSI benefits, it's fairly obvious that surviving the process is a legitimate concern. In working with claimants over several years, I was regularly aware of situations in which claimants were in danger of being evicted from their homes, having homes foreclosed on, did not have access to proper medical care and needed medications, and could not afford to pay for utilities or food.

If you are filing for disability and are experiencing any of these difficulties you may wish to consider the following:

1. Check with your local social services department for utility assistance. The LIEAP program (low income energy assistance program) may be able to provide help with your heating bill in the winter. Also, some social services departments will also offer one-time assistance on a utility bill at times other than winter.

2. If you need medications and do not have health coverage, check with an adult services caseworker at social services to see if any church or charitable organizations are offering limited assistance with paying for prescriptions. In addition to being a former disability examiner, I was also a caseworker and my DSS (department of social services) did have organizations to refer people to if they were in need of prescription assistance. Also, at the time I was working as a medicaid caseworker, an individual could file for medicaid (based on disability) and even if the medicaid application was later denied, the individual could still receive medication assistance while their medicaid claim was being processed. This may not be the case with every county DSS, but it is certainly worth checking into.

3. File for any benefits for which you potentially might be eligible. And do this with the understanding that you need to utilize every possible resource to maximize your chances of getting through the disability process. This, of course, includes filing for food stamps (I was also a food stamp caseworker). Also, you may wish to file for either public housing assistance or section 8 housing assistance. Typically, the wait for housing assistance is very long, so it will definitely be in your best interests to do this sooner versus later.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to file for disability in West Virginia
Social Security Disability, medium work, and your records
SSD, SSI, and medium, light, and sedentary work
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
Will a Disability Lawyer decline taking your disability case?
Picking the right disability attorney
Free Legal Representation for Social Security Disability or SSI claims
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, Functional Limitations
Chiari Malformation and Filing for Disability
How to file for disability in Minnesota
Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Memory loss and filing for disability
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
What does Social Security Disability SSI pay, how much?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability attorneys and representatives
What is the status of your social security disability or SSI case
Rules and requirements to apply for disability
Will I qualify for disability?
Apply for disability for any medical condition
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
If your disability claim is approved or denied
Social Security Award letter for SSD, SSI
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
How social security evaluates attention deficit
Filing for disability with Post polio syndrome
Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI
SSI award notices are received by approved claimants
Winning and getting disability with a mental condition
Getting disability for rheumatoid arthritis
Can you work if you get Disability?
Who qualifies for SSI and how
How to file for disability and where to apply
Conditions that may qualify as disability
Denied on a disability application
Answering questions at a Social Security Disability hearing